If you’ve ridden long enough I’m sure there have been times where you wished your handlebars had a bit more padding especially when riding on rougher roads and terrain. The feeling of having your hands rattle to sleep or aching on a long ride is not our idea of fun. There are a number of solutions available for handlebar padding from such vendors as Fizik, Serfas, Cinelli and handlebar dampening end cap plugs from Bontrager Buzz Kill that cost anywhere from $10-$30 but we have a tip that is relatively free. We can’t take credit for this idea as we found this solution years ago while reading up on what mechanics do in an attempt to improve riders comfort during the Paris Roubaix.
Basically all you need is an old spare inner tube, that’s it. The solution is to place a thin layer of the inner tube rubber under your handlebar tape, here’s how.
First, you’ll want to cut out the valve stem.
Second, you’ll need to take your scissors and cut the inner tube along its length straight down the middle.
Next, once your opened up the inner tube and laid it flat you’ll want to split it down the middle once more to create 2 long strips of rubber that resemble 2 pieces of bar tape.
Last, you’ll simply wrap the rubber strips on your handlebars exactly as you would with regular handlebar tape. The process is exactly the same. Keep in mind the tighter the wrap the less the dampening. I tend to warp it fairly loose to get the most rubber around the handlebars.
You can finish the job by adding your favorite handlebar tape. Our favorite handlebar tapes is the gel backed handlebar tape that can be found from a variety of vendors. When you combine the gel backed handlebar tape along with the lower layer of inner tube rubber you have a very good solution for just about any terrain. We find that while the combined gel handlebar tape plus the inner tube rubber makes the grip diameter on the handlebar just a bit larger it’s not so large that it doesn’t work with smaller hands.